Woven Ribbon Bird Christmas Ornament

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My grandmother used to make these intricate woven birds for my Christmas tree when I was a child.  It just takes some ribbon--no glue, or tape, or anything else--to create these beautiful woven bird ornaments for your own Christmas tree.

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It's Day 6 and we are sharing DIY Ornament Ideas!

Woven Bird Christmas Ornament Tutorial  

Make delicate, intricate woven birds out of gift wrapping ribbon with this tutorial.  Use as a gift topper or Christmas present.

I was a little girl (maybe four or so?) when my grandmother gave me a box full of beautiful, colorful, woven ribbon birds to decorate my Christmas tree.  I had my very own little Christmas tree, and I was just starting my collection of ornaments.

 Yellow Woven Ribbon Bird on a white marble surface.

This is one of the actual ribbon birds she made for me.  I still have about a dozen.  My grandma Berta died when I was 10 years old, and I always regretted that I had never asked her to teach me how to make these gorgeous ribbon birds.

Golden Woven Ribbon Bird perched in a Christmas tree.

The first Christmas I was home from college, I was alone with nothing to do, and I saw the ribbon birds on my Christmas tree, and I decided to reverse-engineer them.  It took a good while, but I figured it out!  I've made these pretty ribbon birds many times over the past 20+ years, including a set for each of my own daughters' Christmas trees.

Golden craft ribbon spool and a piece of ribbon divided in four pieces on a white weathered wooden surface.

This is a tutorial much better suited to video than to still photos, but I've taken a few photos of key steps.  You'll get the most value from watching the video at the top of the page to learn how to make these woven birds.

The material is classic wide curling ribbon.  Sadly, this is getting harder and harder to find these days.  I did find a few varieties at my local dollar store, and I did find some on Amazon.  But it's not in most party stores and Targets and such any more.    These birds can be made out of strips of paper, but regular satin ribbon tends to fray too much to be suitable for this craft.  You need something papery/plasticy that doesn't fray when cut.

Cut two equal lengths of ribbon between 12" and 18" long.  Split the ribbon in four equal parts; split all but the last few inches of ribbon.  The un-split ribbon will become the wings of the bird.

Golden ribbon being woven together to create a ribbon bird.

Bend the top two strips of the ribbon over at a 90 degree angle.  Weave those top two strands through the bottom two strands on that split ribbon.  Do the same with the other side, EXCEPT on one you need to start by going over-under, and on the other, you need to start by going under-over.

Golden ribbon being woven together to create a ribbon bird.

Bring the two ribbons together, and connect them by weaving.  Under, over, under, over.  That's the theme for the rest of the tutorial.  Just keep weaving.  It doesn't matter what step in the process you are, if the last thing that strand did was under, the next thing it does is over.  Trust the process. It works.

And this is where I tell you to go watch the video because seriously, I have no idea how to describe what to do in a way that will make any sense without watching me do it.

 golden Woven Ribbon Bird on a white marble surface.

But they're pretty, right?  One time, when I was working for Weekend Edition Sunday at NPR, we were just hanging around after the show.  It was more exciting when we were live on Sunday mornings for the east coast feed, but after that, it was just on repeats for the rest of the time zones.  But we still had to hang around in case there was any breaking news we'd have to cover.

I was hanging out in one of the editing booths, and there was a huge spool of reel-to-reel tape on the floor.  (Yep, NPR works on such a tight budget that we still worked with razor blades and magnetic tape and reel-to-reel players in the late 90s!).  I gathered up some of that tape trash, and wove one of these birds out of it.  One of the Morning Edition staffers found it and had it perched on top of their cubicle the next time I went by.  And it was still there a few years later when I stopped by for a visit!  I wonder if that little tape bird is still somewhere in the NPR headquarters?

Two Woven Ribbon Bird perched in a Christmas tree.

My grandmother was a wonderfully creative, crafty person.  I inherited her proclivity to create and her fondness for miniatures.  

Golden Woven Ribbon Bird perched in a Christmas tree branch.

I think she'd be happy to see her creations still lovingly set on the Christmas tree each year, and me teaching my friends and children how to make her beautiful woven ribbon birds.  

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Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido

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